I’ve just finished the book. I have to say that I skipped some passages as I found the adventures of Clementine and the others a bit boring.
Clementine’s marriage goes from bad to worse as her husband rapes her a couple of times. The second time he demands his marital duties but Clementine refuses him. He beats her up, so she flees and takes refuge with Phoebe, who has married a Jacobite, Lucien.
This causes scandal, especially as Antoine, the man she loves, returns from Martinique and she gets on with him. There is an article in The Times that she is sent about her scandalous life. In the article Sidonie is mentioned as some kind of go-between for her charges and some young men when she was their governess. Apart from that, the article hints that Phoebe was in a relationship with Clementine’s father. Phoebe admits to Clementine that the story with her father is true, but the younger woman is not angry, just surprised. When they talk to Sidonie, she explains that what the article says about her might be refer to the few times he met with Jules in Bath and London when she persuaded him to get the girls attend the ball in honour of Venetia. Sidonie also tells them that she suspects that the information revealed by the newspaper comes from Minette, the maid who served the Garlands for years, and she knows the maid is now with Corisande de Saint-Georges, who is taking her revenge on Clementine and her family after feeling spurned when Edmond married Eliza and not her.
After the article, Clementine cannot leave Phoebe’s place, and she is miserable. Then one day Lucien comes and brings her papers for her and Venetia to travel to Italy. This is the end of the novel. Clementine and Venetia travel together, and before they leave Paris, Jules joins them, and to Clementine’s surprise, Antoine comes to her and swears that even if his father disinherits him, he won’t renounce to her love.
I have to say that I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but I’m afraid I got bored in the last part.